Ask LH: What Do I Need To Buy When I Move Out Of Home?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m getting myself organised to move out of home for the very first time in a few months. I was wondering if you had tips for the kinds of things I won’t realise I need until I move in? Apart from the obvious essentials (bed, fridge, etc.), what should I be buying? Thanks, Jack

Dear Jack,

Moving out of home for the first time is an eye-opening experience. No matter how much you prepare, there are bound to be a few items you won’t realise you need until their actual use is required.

Usually, the offending item is a kitchen utensil of some kind. Either you don’t have a cooking tool you need, or the one you do have turns out to be too small.

Our advice? In the month before you move out, cook every meal yourself (assuming you don’t do this already.) Make a note of all the kitchen utensils and appliances you use to prepare and cook each meal. Clearly, you’re going to need all of them.

If you’re moving in with other people or intend to have guests over regularly, you should also cook for your family at the same time. That way, you’ll have a good idea of the required size and quantity of each item. (e.g. – A small frying pan might be fine for solo meals, but it won’t serve when you’re cooking for four.)

Off the top of our head, here are some other items that are important to have but easy to forget:

  • Spare light bulbs: Saves a trip to the shops when a light blows.
  • A basic toolkit: This should include several screw drivers (Phillips, flat-head and mini), a hammer, pliers and an adjustable wrench.
  • Cleaning products: Laundry detergent, dustpan and broom, dish washing liquid, toilet brush, etc.
  • Duct tape and zip ties: For securing items and administering cheap DIY repairs.
  • Assorted Tupperware: For leftovers and miscellaneous food storage.
  • A kettle: You’d be surprised how many renters forget this until the day they move out.
  • Basic gardening tools: Many rental properties leave the upkeep and maintenance of the lawn to the renter. At the very least, you’re going to need some hedge clippers and weed killing products. A cheap lawnmower is also worth considering: it’s more expensive than hiring a handyman but will save money in the long run.
  • Spare doona: For guests staying over and accidental spills.
  • Torch: For blackouts.
  • Matches and candles: Ditto.
  • Extra socks and underwear: These disappear with alarming frequency – and you won’t have a parent automatically replacing them.

If you own a car or motorbike, there are obviously a host of other items you need to stock up on – everything from oil and power steering fluid (for engine upkeep) to buckets and squeegees (for cleaning).

In addition to physical items, you might also want to consider contents insurance. This is something many renters overlook as it’s not usually required by the landlord. If you can afford it, it’s definitely worthwhile.

We’re also going to throw this one over to our readers. What are some things you didn’t realise were essential until you moved out? Share your suggestions in the comments!


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